Category Archives: Jackson Series

Review: So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl

Title: So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl
Jackson Series Book Three
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin HQN
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Tough to tame, but not too tough to love…

Charlie Allington is supposed to be on the fast track to the top—a small-town girl who was making it big in her career. Instead, she’s reeling from a scandal that’s pretty much burned all her bridges. Now, out of options, she needs a place to lick her wounds and figure out her future. True, working at a ski resort in rugged Jackson Hole, Wyoming, isn’t her dream job. But if there’s one perk to coming back, it’s a certain sexy hometown boy who knows how to make a girl feel welcome.

Cowboy Walker Pearce never expected a grown-up Charlie to be temptation in tight jeans. She’s smart and successful—way out of league for a man like him. But he’s not about to let that, or his secrets, get in the way of their blazing-hot attraction. Yet when passion turns to something more, will the truth—about both of them—send her out of his life for good…or into his arms forever?

The Review:

So Tough to Tame is the fast-paced and extra steamy third installment of Victoria Dahl’s series set in Jackson, WY. Although characters from previous novels are mentioned and there are guest appearances by others, it can be read as a standalone story.

Charlotte “Charlie” Allington’s return to Jackson Hole is precipitated by a cataclysmic scandal involving her previous job. Her brother and an old friend have helped her secure a position in a yet to be opened resort and while she is working hard, Charlie is planning to move on when her professional reputation has been repaired. Needing a little distance from her boss’s intense scrutiny, Charlie moves in to the Stud Farm and discovers that Walker Pearce, her long ago crush, is her next door neighbor. The sparks are soon flying between them but misunderstandings and poor communication soon come between them.

Charlie and Walker are fun, flirty and likable but they come across as superficial for much of the story. Each of them has issues stemming from their childhoods that influence their actions in the present but neither of them is willing to discuss their past or current problems. This leaves the reader with the impression that there is not much depth or substance to their characters. By the time the truth begins to emerge, it is fairly late in the story and the resolution feels rather rushed.

The storyline with Charlie’s career is rather confusing because the back story of how she ended up in Jackson is slow to be revealed. The secondary storyline with her friend/boss Dawn is not only puzzling but rather irritating since there does not seem to be any context for Dawn’s actions. Charlie was slow to catch on to how she was being manipulated but she was quick to act when she figured out what was going on behind the scenes and I like how this part of the storyline played out.

Some of the best scenes in So Tough to Tame involve Rayleen Kisler, the feisty owner of the Stud Farm. Charlie proves to be a pretty good match for the outrageous octogenarian and I laughed out loud at their witty banter. It was great to finally see Rayleen’s relationship with Easy make progress.

Despite a few issues, So Tough to Tame is an easy to read and entertaining romance. The characters are engaging and likable and the sex scenes between Charlie and Walker are scorching hot. An enjoyable addition to Victoria Dahl’s Jackson series that fans of contemporary romances are sure to enjoy.

Read my reviews of the other novels in the Jackson series HERE.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, HarlequinHQN, Jackson Series, Rated C+, Review, Romance, So Tough to Tame, Victoria Dahl

Review: Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl

Title: Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl
Jackson Series Book Two
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin HQN
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


This good girl’s going bad….

Merry Kade has always been the good girl. The best friend. The one who patiently waits for the guy to notice her. Well, no more. Merry has just scored her dream job, and it’s time for her life to change. As the new curator of a museum in Wyoming, she’ll supervise a lot of restoration work. Luckily she’s found the perfect contractor for the job.

Shane Harcourt can’t believe that someone wants to turn a beat-up ghost town into a museum attraction. After all, the last thing he needs is the site of his dream ranch turning into a tourist trap. He’ll work on the project, if only to hasten its failure…until the beautiful, quirky woman in charge starts to change his mind.

For the first time ever, Merry has a gorgeous stud hot on her heels. But can she trust this strong, silent man, even if he is a force of nature in bed? When Shane’s ulterior motives come out, he’ll need to prove to Merry that a love like theirs may be too hot to handle, but it’s impossible to resist.

The Review:

Victoria Dahl’s second installment in her Jackson Hole, WY series, Too Hot to Handle is a light, easy to read romance that fans of contemporary westerns romances are sure to enjoy.

Merry Kade has finally found her niche in her new job and she is bubbling over with enthusiasm with the renovation of the Providence ghost town. Hoping to jumpstart the slow moving project, Merry takes the initiative and hires local carpenter Shane Harcourt to begin restoring the dilapidated buildings. Unbeknownst to Merry, Shane is the reason the project has stalled and his reasons for accepting the job are not exactly as altruistic as she thinks.

Merry is an absolutely delightful breath of fresh air and I adored her. She is refreshingly down to earth with realistic insecurities and self-doubts. Merry’s childhood was not easy, but she has an optimistic and sunny outlook on life. She deliberately looks for the good in people and although she is not naive, she is trusting. Merry is not overtly sexy or drop dead gorgeous. Instead she is every guy’s best gal pal; the one they discuss their woman problems with. So when Shane begins to treat her like she is a sexy, desirable woman, Merry is flustered and her self-esteem issues cause her to doubt his intentions. But when she eventually accepts that his attention is genuine, she eagerly enters into a no strings attached passionate fling.

Shane is a little more difficult to like since he is deceiving Merry. He has abandonment issues that stem from his childhood and he has serious commitment issues. In his favor, he is upfront with Merry that he is not looking for a permanent relationship. Of the two characters, Shane undergoes the most growth. Part of his change in attitude results from Merry’s positive attitude. New information about past events also comes to light and he finds closure for a childhood loss.

Some of the characters from the first novel in the series, Close Enough to Touch, play key roles in Too Hot to Handle. As Merry’s closest friend, Grace Barrett is fiercely protective of her and she is always looking out for her. While Grace is distrustful of Shane, but she is respectful of Merry’s decision to become involved with him. Grace always has Merry’s happiness and best interests at heart.

Too Hot to Handle is an entertaining novel and an excellent addition to the Jackson Hole, WY series. The romance between Merry and Shane is sweet and their sex scenes are deliciously steamy. Victoria Dahl’s writing style is humorous and engaging and her characters are well-developed and true to life. An all around lovely story that I highly recommend.

Read my review of Close Enough to Touch HERE.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, HarlequinHQN, Jackson Series, Rated B, Review, Romance, Too Hot to Handle, Victoria Dahl

Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl

Title: Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl
Jackson Series Book One
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: HarlequinHQN
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 381 pages
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley


Can a city girl make it in the wild, wild West?

For makeup artist Grace Barrett, Hollywood is less the land of golden opportunity and more the land of difficult divas, cheating boyfriends and unemployment. So when her great-aunt offers her a free place to stay in Jackson Hole, Grace thinks she’ll spend a little time in the sticks to figure out her life, and then move somewhere exciting to live out her dreams. But it turns out that there are a few more thrills in this small town than Grace was expecting…

Cole Rawlins is a rugged Wyoming cowboy born and bred. Yet he can’t help but be drawn to the fascinating big-city girl who moves in across from him. As they discover a sizzling attraction, it’s Grace who finds herself surprised. Cole’s the only man who’s ever dared to get close enough to see through her tough facade. And his mysterious past only makes him sexier.

They’ll need more than scorching-hot passion to make this opposites-attract affair work. But if they can learn to trust one another enough to reveal their secrets, they just might have a chance at forever.

The Review:

Victoria Dahl’s newest release, Close Enough to Touch is an intense and emotional novel. Starting over is never easy, but for Grace Barrett, she has no choice. Blackballed by her cheating and vindictive ex, Grace’s stay in Jackson Hole, WY is a temporary pit stop until her new job in Vancouver begins. Her next door neighbor Cole Rawlins is also playing a waiting game as he recovers from a serious injury that jeopardizes his future career plans.

My heart ached just for Grace Barrett. Her life has been difficult; she has struggled to make a success of her life, and one bad decision destroyed everything she worked so hard to achieve. She is angry, tough and fiercely independent. She keeps the world at a distance and clings tightly to her tough-girl attitude. Grace is also quite perceptive of those around her and she eventually becomes aware of her own destructive behavior.

Cole Rawlins is sexy, charming and brings to the relationship his own set of emotional baggage. On the surface, he is much more open than Grace, but as the story progresses, it becomes apparent he is also keeping his fair share of secrets. He is more honest and upfront than Grace and although their relationship is casual, he does try to get close to her.

With both characters holding so much of themselves back, it is impossible for them to have anything but a superficial relationship. There is a lack of communication between them that causes them to jump to wrong conclusions and misconstrue certain situations. Instead of feeling contrived, the misunderstandings feel natural; they are a natural extension of the characters inability to open up. In Cole’s case, shame keeps him from talking about certain events. Grace’s silence is purely self-preservation. She refuses to allow anyone to see what she perceives to be her weaknesses and she does not allow anyone to get close to her. Both characters are quick to run away from their problems instead of facing them head on.

While in many areas, Cole and Grace’s relationship is far from easy they are definitely compatible in the bedroom. The sex between them is raw and gritty, with very little tenderness. Grace does let her guard down some and she eventually accepts Cole’s more gentle gestures. With so much left unspoken between them, Grace has a few doubts about where she stands with Cole, and some of their sexual encounters feed her insecurities.

There are lighter moments in Close Enough to Touch. Some occur between Cole and Grace, but many are provided by the delightful secondary cast of characters. Bartender Jenny is wonderful, and she is the first person to slip past Grace’s defenses. Eve Hill is Grace’s boss, but also her friend. Grace’s Great Aunt Rayleen Kisler is gruff and no nonsense, but she also has an undeniable charm that makes her one of the most enjoyable characters in the novel.

Close Enough to Touch is not a typical Victoria Dahl novel. And in this case, that is a very good thing. It is a heavier romance with realistic characters who have genuine problems to solve. It is a bit angsty but watching Cole and Grace overcome their obstacles is incredibly gratifying and emotionally satisfying. A heartwarming romance with two flawed yet very appealing protagonists that I highly recommend.


Filed under Close Enough to Touch, Contemporary, Harlequin, HarlequinHQN, Jackson Series, Rated B+, Romance, Victoria Dahl